Welcome Guest [Log In] [Register]
Recent Posts

Welcome to the NEW Samurai Archives Japanese History Forum. If you have an account on the old forum (The Samurai Archives Citadel), you'll have to create a new account here. If you did have an account at the old forum, send a PM to "Samurai Archives Bot" letting us know, and we'll update your post count to reflect your activity on the old forum.

Otherwise, you're currently viewing our forum as a guest. This means you are limited to certain areas of the board and there are many features you can't use. If you join our community, you'll be able to access member-only sections, and use many member-only features such as customizing your profile, sending personal messages, and voting in polls. Registration is simple, fast, and completely free. Be sure to validate your account via the email that will be sent when you sign up, otherwise you will have very limited access to forum features.


Join our community!


If you're already a member please log in to your account to access all of our features:

Username:   Password:
Add Reply
'Must-See' Historical Spots in Japan
Topic Started: Apr 2 2018, 04:17 AM (678 Views)
tercero
Member Avatar
Peasant
Hey guys! I will be making my first trip to japan in a few months. What are some places you guys would recommend with regards to historical sites? My interest is mostly in sengoku period and nanboku-cho, but am open to places that have to do with any period. For reference I will be going to tokyo and kyoto, and am open to day trips. Thanks!
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
ltdomer98
Member Avatar
Daijo Daijin

tercero
Apr 2 2018, 04:17 AM
Hey guys! I will be making my first trip to japan in a few months. What are some places you guys would recommend with regards to historical sites? My interest is mostly in sengoku period and nanboku-cho, but am open to places that have to do with any period. For reference I will be going to tokyo and kyoto, and am open to day trips. Thanks!


Tokyo Area:
There isn't a ton of "sites" within Tokyo for those two periods. Edo existed, but of course everything has been built and rebuilt upon it. I'd suggest the National Museum in Ueno, of course. And there's a ton to see in Tokyo, just not specifically Sengoku or Nanbokucho sites.

Day trips near Tokyo:

Nikko: Edo period, of course, but unlike most temple/shrine complexes you'll see in Japan, and it's the mausoleum of Ieyasu.
Kamakura: The gajillionth Buddhist temple can get tiring for some, but hit the main ones and the Daibutsu.
Odawara: The remains of the castle tenshukaku are small and reconstructed, but the grounds are nice and give a sense of the scale. Also, easily done on the way to Hakone.
Hakone: Onsen town known for hot springs and views of Fuji, but the sekisho (Edo-period toll barrier) is worth checking out.

Kyoto: EVERYTHING.
I mean, it's hard to throw a stone and NOT hit something of historical value in Kyoto (don't throw stones, please).
I still have yet to make it to Mt. Hiei myself, but it's right there (I've just been lazy).
See the major "touristy" temples and shrines--Kiyomizudera, Sanjusangendo, Kinkakuji, Ginkakuji, Ryoanji, Meiji Jingu, Gion, etc. You couldn't pay me to go to Kinkakuji these days, but that's because I've been around 5-6 times. Say hi to the "very important moss" for me at Ginkakuji. I don't think it's necessary to explain the history in all these, it's fairly well written about.
Uji (Byodoin, etc.)
Higashiyama--not in the periods you care about, but the Hyakunin Isshu (100 poems by 100 poets) museum is great.
Day trip (or 2) to Osaka, see the prefectural museum and Osaka Castle, etc.

One thing to consider: there's a lot IN BETWEEN Tokyo and Kyoto, particularly in the Nagoya area, if you're interested in Sengoku stuff. Inuyama-jo is my favorite castle of all time, and worth the effort to get there. There's a bunch else (Nagoya-jo, Kiyosu-jo, Gifu-jo in Gifu, Sekigahara) etc. in the area as well.
I can't in good conscience recommend going to Nagashino--it's a royal pain in the butt to get there. So go see Sekigahara if you want a battlefield.

I can suggest more if you want specific things, or if you have a sense of your time and days. If it's your first trip, I think there's a certain amount of "yeah, this is the thing everyone does, but it's the thing everyone does for a reason" like Kinkakuji that you really can't avoid.
Posted Image
Daijo Daijin Emeritus
退職させていただきます。
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
owari no utsuke
No Avatar
Izu no kami
Odawara Castle, home of the Hojo is just a short trip from Tokyo.

Azuchi is a short train ride from Kyoto. Castle ruins and the two museums are recommended. You can rent a bike which makes the trip even more pleasant.

Gifu the home to Nobunaga and Saito Dosan is a great place. You can easily visit temples, shrines, and Gifu Castle in day related to Nobunaga and Dosan. The museum at the castle park is a must. The second floor has a replica of a Sengoku Era town market.

The Nagoya area has a lot to offer when it comes to the big three Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Ieyasu. Nagoya Castle is nice. Kiyosu Castle is great too. From Nagoya you can visit the Okehazama battlefield and several landmarks related to the battle. Komaki Castle is not far from Nagoya.

Shizuoka has a few areas related to Ieyasu and Imagawa Yoshimoto. Sunpu Castle and Rinzaiji.

I agree with Domer on Sekigahara.
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
tercero
Member Avatar
Peasant
Wow these are great guys, thank you! Going to look into all these and hopefully be able to see a good amount of them. Originally I was planning to do a day trip to Kamakura and Osaka. Glad to see some examples of what to visit while at these places. And I had not thought about a trip to Hakone, but think it will be perfect. I really have been wanting to see Odawara Castle so will probably do a day trip to Hakone with a stop there as suggested. I recognize some of the more touristy places, and some places from sources and listening to the SA podcast. I definitely want to see those place, but am glad to here of some other spots that are less touristy. So many amazing places to see, I am worried I will not have close to enough time to see them.

For reference, I am traveling there mid October. Will be staying for 2 weeks, 7 days in Tokyo, and 7 in Kyoto. I am curious if you guys feel, given the limited amount of time in each place, if its worth doing 2 or more day trips at each place respectively. Or if its better to limit the amount and really explore and get to know Kyoto and Tokyo. Don't think I will be able to make a trip again anytime soon, so really want to make the most of this trip.

Thanks again, I really appreciate the help
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
ltdomer98
Member Avatar
Daijo Daijin

tercero
Apr 7 2018, 07:36 AM
For reference, I am traveling there mid October. Will be staying for 2 weeks, 7 days in Tokyo, and 7 in Kyoto. I am curious if you guys feel, given the limited amount of time in each place, if its worth doing 2 or more day trips at each place respectively. Or if its better to limit the amount and really explore and get to know Kyoto and Tokyo. Don't think I will be able to make a trip again anytime soon, so really want to make the most of this trip.


Well, it depends on what you are interested in and want to see. My first trip to Tokyo, I did it in 5 days over Christmas break (spent Christmas eve in a capsule hotel in Shinjuku) and that included a day trip to Nikko and a day trip to Kamakura, and everything else in Tokyo I saw in 3 days. But I was looking mostly at museums and historical sights, I was 19 and able to be up at 6, hit the right trains to make all the connections I needed, see things quickly because it was just me, and move to the next thing. I didn't do a whole lot of OOOH WOW MODERN/FUTURISTIC TOKYO because at the time that wasn't my thing--maybe an observation deck in Shinjuku, and I know I went to Akihabara because I bought a video camera.

If you want to do things like Tokyo Tower or Skytree or see parks or whatever, then that's going to add days, but I think you can make Tokyo work in 7 days, pretty easily, including Kamakura and Nikko, and probably even Hakone/Odawara. Will you see EVERYTHING? No. I lived in Tokyo for 2 years, just outside of it for a few more, and I haven't seen EVERYTHING, of course.

Kyoto is a bit different--you could live there for decades I think and keep discovering more to see. For a first trip, and especially if you don't think you'll make another trip perhaps, I'd make sure you saw the Big Touristy Things (tm) because no one wants to come back home, tell someone you went to Kyoto, and get the "oh, did you see this thing? I loved it" and have it be something you missed. On the flip side, maybe you don't give a flip about seeing The Zen Garden In Every Textbook(tm) so you can skip Ryoanji, etc. That's a call you have to make.

If you're looking for daytrips out of Kyoto, then Nara is a big one. Himeji is another one, easy reach on the train (Assuming you will get a railpass? Yes?? DO IT) and if you're interested in castles, it's the one to go to. Not my favorite (as I said, Inuyama is) but it's the grandest one remaining by far. Stunning, really.

I hate to be a broken record, but it's really up to your interests. I like Buddhist temples, but I remember my first trip to Kamakura, I was like "oh man...ANOTHER temple? I don't know if I can handle this." So maybe split it up--make sure you hit Osaka in the middle of your Kyoto visit, and go see some modern Japan. Or do Kamakura, but then the next day bum around Shinjuku and Shibuya taking in 21st C Tokyo. October is a good time to go--won't be hot, but won't be cold, and the autumn leaves should be good. Not like June when I'll be there, tromping around Kyushu hillsides in the pouring rain...
Posted Image
Daijo Daijin Emeritus
退職させていただきます。
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
tercero
Member Avatar
Peasant
Thats reassuring that 7 days in Tokyo seems doable for the major stuff, I was afraid it wouldn't be. Im going with my girlfriend and she wants to see some of the modern Tokyo stuff (as do I to a degree), but she's agreed and doesn't mind spending a majority of the trip going to the historical sites and museums (thank god). So with that hopefully will be able to make the schedule work and catch the sites. Kamakura, Nikko, and Hakone/Odawara are all places I want to visit. Im happy to hear it is possible given the time restrictions.

That quality of Kyoto sounds amazing. I've read similar things about the city. I plan on seeing some of the big touristy things for sure, but don't have a problem skipping some temples or sites if I felt I've seen enough of them at the time. I will definitely be getting the railpass haha, I have heard how convenient it is for getting around and making day trips. Nara and Himeji look really interesting to visit. Definitely planning on going to Osaka.

Splitting up the trip with historical and modern sites is a great suggestion, makes perfect sense. Im glad to hear October seems like a good time to go. So excited to be finally making a trip there. Planning is a little bit overwhelming, so all this help is invaluable. Thank you again!
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Thomas
No Avatar
Rice Farmer
Hi tercero —

I was in this position last year, when I made my trip to Japan.

4 days Kyoto, 5 days Nagoya, 3 days Tokyo.

Tokyo time was for modern stuff, art mostly, with my long-suffering wife.

Kyoto, as Ltdomer98 says, EVERYTHING.

We had an Airbnb apartment on the Nishinotoin Dori as our base. We visited the Fushimi Inari Taisha and, heading up to the Kiyimizudera, called in to a little Japanese coffee shop. I ended up 'talking' to a local when he heard me pointing out the Kiyumizu on our map. When we left, he followed us out, and while my wife was photographing the flower arrangement outside, opened the passenger door of his Lexus and said "Kiyumizu?" He drove us all the way there!

En route I managed to discern that he was Kyoto born and bred. Something about big noses should have given that away, apparently? (Much to his amusement, trying to make himself understood.) Also a frown at me for not having made the Tofukuji.

Currently (a year later) reading "From Baishoron to Nantaiheiki" – 14th century (not my era), the days of Ashikaga Takauji. In the book is a chapter entitled "The Battle of Toji, 1355" and ... well I'll be damned! The author speaks of forces in Kyoto crossing the Kamogawa and fighting around Nishinotoin — that's the street on which we stayed! At Ltdomer98 says — if you're in Kyoto, you're in over your head in history!

In Nagoya, following Ltdomer98's advice, our first was the Inuyama-jo (Thank you, dude!). I was delighted, my beloved, who suffers from vertigo, had a challenging time with the 'stairs' from floor to floor – almost as steep as ladders and a health-and-safety nightmare, as we watched heart-in-mouth as families with children were trooping up and down ... and then finally, at the top of the tenshu, you step out onto the surrounding walkway-thingy (the term escapes me), you're right at the top of a castle perched on the top of a cliff over the river seemingly miles below, with a view of the Kiso valley and surrounding area ('a commanding view' hardly does it justice), with just a waist-high rail and the floor sloped gently downward to drain rainwater away ... me looking out over the view and my wife, back to the wall, knees like water, having palpitations ...

A day trip from Nagoya to the Tahara-jo on the Atsumi peninsula — I'm writing an historical romp based there — and I wanted to stand and get a sense of the view. Can you see Mikawa Bay from the castle? Can you see the sea? What does Mount Zao look like, rising on your flank? As it turned out, couldn't see a blooming thing, a heavy mist obscuring absolutely bloody everything! Hey-ho. (Tahara's not much really, anyway, just felt obliged to say hello.) Stopped off at Okazaki on the way back, though.

Walked a bit of the Nakasendo (Tsumago to Magome). The thing's just a footpath! How long would it take to march an army along here? And what would a sankin-kotai procession look like?

We saw lots, missed so much more, want to go back ...

Enjoy!

Re the railpass, check out local trains, etc., as it doesn't include everything (there are private rail companies). There are different Tokaido Shinkansen services too, and your railpass will not cover the fastest Nozomi trains (least number of stops), but does the Hikari (more stops) and Kodoma (more again). No problem, you're Superman for a bit ('faster than a speeding bullet') ... I think you could see Mt Fuji from the train, but for the mists ...
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
tercero
Member Avatar
Peasant
Hey Thomas, thank you so much! All of that information is extremely helpful. Also very cool to hear about your experiences there, makes me all the more excited to get there and experience some of this for myself! I am now considering maybe it is worth allotting some time to spend in Nagoya. Inuyama-jo looks amazing and would love to see it.

Im also very interested in Nanboku-chō, and the events surrounding it. Haven't read (or heard about for that matter) From Baishoron to Nantaiheiki. Looked into the book and it looks really interesting! Actually just ordered it from amazon, and looking forward to reading it.

Thanks again for all this great stuff!
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
1 user reading this topic (1 Guest and 0 Anonymous)
« Previous Topic · Samurai History - Kamakura to Sengoku · Next Topic »
Add Reply

  Board Index

Samurai Archives is (C)2015 by C.E. West & F.W. Seal. Samurai Archives online since September 1st, 1999. The current Samurai Archives forum online since March 4th, 2015.